Joco 913

Leawood moves forward on summer construction projects, introduces new K-9

Officer Josh Hayes brought Kimo, a German Shepherd and newest K-9 on the force, to meet the city council.
Officer Josh Hayes brought Kimo, a German Shepherd and newest K-9 on the force, to meet the city council. Photo provided

The governing body of the city of Leawood approved the preliminary plans to tear down the old Brookwood Elementary School, which opened in 1960, and construct a new one on the same site at 3411 W. 103rd St.

Final plans for the project could be approved as early as July, allowing the work to begin on the $18 million project this summer. Brookwood currently enrolls about 370 elementary students in the Shawnee Mission School District. The larger two-story building will be able to hold 550 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, although the district doesn’t anticipate a dramatic increase in enrollment at this time.

Project architect Jennifer Berka of the firm Hollis + Miller says one of the improved features at the new site is the reworked drop-off and pick-up zones. The building today can only fit about a dozen vehicles at one time, which causes traffic to back up onto 103rd Street during morning and afternoon hours on school days. The new configuration will accommodate 60 vehicles on the site, largely solving the traffic issues.

“We can see improvements with how they’ve got this designed,” Police Chief Troy Rettig said during the meeting. “Getting the bulk of those cars off 103rd Street, which this seems like it will do, is very welcome for us because we do get a lot of complaints.”

Brookwood is currently closed, with students attending class at Indian Creek during construction. The anticipated opening for the new building is spring 2019.

Brookwood wasn’t the only preliminary construction plan approved for Leawood on Monday. It was a busy evening for the city council, which met for the first time in five weeks. The city also approved a preliminary plan for the highly anticipated redesign of the First Federal Bank of Kansas City, said goodbye to two long-time staff members, and met a new police dog.

Makeover for First Federal Bank building

Located at 8000 State Line since 1975, First Federal Bank of Kansas City received approval on preliminary plans to give the bank’s building a major makeover. The branch will receive repairs and updates including a new roof, and redesigned interior. Rick Mann, senior vice president of the bank, said the branch will remain open during construction. Once final plans are approved, construction will begin in mid-July and conclude by January for the grand reopening in the spring of 2018.

Leawood officials say goodbye

Information Services Director Mark Andrasik and Public Works Director Joe Johnson gave their public goodbyes at the retirement presentation that kicked off Monday’s meeting. Both men received standing ovations as they were honored by Mayor Peggy Dunn. Andrasik is retiring after 34 years with the city. Johnson — who was named one of the top 10 national public works leaders in 2007 — is retiring from 21 years in public works administration to start another career. David Ley will serve as interim public works director.

“This was much more than a job,” Andrasik said while accepting his retirement award. “Leawood doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a combination of the mayor and governing body and all the departments.”

K-9 dog joins force

Andrasik’s speech was almost upstaged by the introduction of Kimo, the 18-month-old German shepherd that is the newest K-9 to join the Leawood Police Department. Officer Josh Hayes brought the police dog to meet the city council and staff, who inquired about his role on the force.

Kimo trained on narcotic detection, tracking and patrol work, and building searches with Hayes for eight weeks at Shallow Creek Kennels in Pennsylvania before arriving in Leawood at the beginning of May. Kimo joins K-9 Bob Earl, a Belgian Malinois that joined the force in 2013.

“We didn’t name him. They come with the names,” Hayes said with a laugh about Bob Earl.

Leawood retired six police canines between 1994 and 2016.